By James Beam
My first COVID-19 testing experience was in the pandemic’s early days, before Worksite Labs began. While I won’t mention the company by name, suffice to say it was a big player in the testing space. The company’s size made it almost impossible to connect with anyone who could answer questions about the testing process and the progress of my results.
That experience impressed upon me the importance of customer visibility in the healthcare space, particularly when it comes to COVID testing. Customers should be able to communicate their unique needs to a testing provider – and expect to be understood and served efficiently.
We are, after all, in the middle of a generation-defining pandemic that is dynamic, nuanced and erratic. Fear and tension are high in our country and world, especially as the delta variant’s rapid spread results in reinstated heath mitigation measures. If there were ever a time when customers deserve to be seen and heard by healthcare providers, it’s now.
Worksite Labs is uniquely positioned to control our customers’ interactions in a radically positive, personal and compassionate way. We fully control our entire supply chain, from the scheduling process to the back-end payment – and everything in between. We maintain a hands-on, always-available approach at every step.
This connectedness ensures everyone who turns to Worksite Labs for top-tier testing will enjoy maximum convenience that extends far beyond the product itself.
The convenience of our product
The consumer value of inexpensive RT-PCR testing that offers 98-99% accurate results with less than a 24-hour guaranteed turnaround can’t be underestimated.
Worksite Labs is the most affordable option for gold-standard COVID-19 testing on the market, starting at $90 per test. Most top RT-PCR providers charge prices well exceeding $100 — and you’d be hard-pressed to find a sub-$100 option with under-24-hour results (a stark improvement compared to the seven- to 10-day wait for tests in the pandemic’s early days). Our price model itself is an emblem of convenience, ensuring customers’ wallets don’t suffer.
The tight timing of our testing process stems directly from another key element: our locational flexibility. We’ve opened testing venues all over the United States, including sites serving major departure points such as LAX Airport and the popular cruise ports of Miami and Seattle.
When customers visit our testing sites, their nasal swab samples are processed at dedicated facilities within easy driving distance (sometimes mere feet) of where they were collected. This slashes processing time significantly, as we don’t ship samples to a faraway lab. So when international vacationers heading out of major travel hubs need pre-travel testing, not only will travel time to the testing site be minimal, our guaranteed turnaround meets time constraints.
Our partnerships in select markets with AOKpass, CLEAR and The Commons Project — which specialize in digital health passport services for travelers — add another layer. Once a customer’s test comes back negative, the results are sent to his or her smartphone as a QR code to present on request.
Pair our accuracy with the affordability, expediency and locational flexibility of the Worksite Labs model, and we become the clear choice for just about any test-seeker.
The convenience of our service
We purposefully designed every step in our customer experience with fast, personalized service in mind.
That shows up the moment customers log onto our scheduling page. Our streamlined process asks for a user’s name, phone number, location and a couple of health questions. After paying online, they’re on their way to the test site without hassle.
Our direct-pay business model removes the middleman of insurance, so quality care is available no matter a consumer’s financial background or insurance status. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t insurance-friendly; those wishing to cover their testing expenses by insurance can request reimbursement.
From that point forward, we focus on personal care for our customers, including educating them on the ins and outs of testing. After booking, customers receive the location of their selected testing site via text and email for easy navigation. And when they arrive, our dedicated on-site medical team is ready to walk each visitor through the actual testing procedure. (They’ve gotten a lot of well-deserved love in our online reviews.)
Workers at our community sites in Brooklyn and South L.A. — which currently provide free COVID-19 testing and will soon augment that with vaccines to vulnerable populations — further model our dedication to interpersonal excellence. Along with the friendly folks administering shots and swabs, faith community nurses are available to share their medical know-how and counseling services for visitors who are hesitant about receiving medical services or who simply want to know more.
Beyond the personal interactivity of on-site visits, we keep customers connected to the testing process after they’ve been swabbed with notifications updating them on their test status. They receive a notification via text and email when their sample is being processed and another when their results are ready.
In the meantime, anyone with questions or issues can get in touch with our call center, which operates 19 hours a day. We’re also working on a digital chat feature.
Case study: The flight to Fiji
Our foremost job as a healthcare services provider is to acknowledge that every customer’s situation is unique. We must understand why people are approaching us and any situational urgency so we can provide the needed support.
To put that in tangible terms, let me share the story of a student group headed to Fiji earlier this year, and they turned to us for required pre-travel testing needs. From the start, our convenient locations played a crucial role in the group’s ability to travel overseas, as students were peppered across the United States. With testing sites around the country, we could collect samples by having each student visit the closest location before boarding the plane.
However, a monumental U.S. ice storm prevented about 80% of those samples from being transported to processing sites. So, our Worksite Labs executive team went into problem-solving mode.
Prior to their collective flight out of LAX Airport, we asked students to arrive in California a little earlier than planned so we could get them swabbed and quickly process their samples at our Orange County lab. This was even trickier when about a half-dozen students had only a seven-hour window between arriving in California and having to take off for Fiji.
In a true race against the clock, Chief Clinical Officer Lindsay Williams and I personally drove to the airport to oversee sample collection, then sped to the lab (responsibly, of course) with the samples. All the students’ results came through on time, some of them right as they were boarding their flight.
Always looking to improve
Though an extreme example, this anecdote shows how our focus on personal connection fuels our drive to provide customers with the results they need when they need them, no matter how urgent or unusual the situation. A more common example of this mentality is our attentiveness to customer feedback, especially negative feedback.
It’s good to know when we do well, but critical feedback helps us understand where we can continue to improve. When test results come back later than promised, our personal service isn’t up to snuff or some other shortfall occurs, we want to immediately take steps to remedy the problem at hand and prevent it in the future.
When it comes down to it, we’re helping the country keep things moving while weathering a once-in-a-lifetime health crisis. Each customer’s needs and desires will not only be different but will often be extra-sensitive in a time like this. That’s why customer visibility and convenience are such high priorities for Worksite Labs, and why they play such a central role in each step of the customer experience.
James Beam is the chief experience officer of Worksite Labs.